Imports of Japanese automobiles reached 30,000 in the first half of this year, but Korea exported only 32 units to Japan. Automobile imports from Japan was 623.24 million U.S. dollars in the first half of this year, which is a 26 percent increase year-on-year, according to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers and the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.
The import volume of Japanese cars in Korea was record-high at 29,453, up by 5,328, or 22 percent, compared to the same period last year. Industry pundits say the popularity of eco-friendly vehicles with high fuel efficiency is the main driver of the increased sales of Japanese cars in South Korea.
However, total automobile imports stood at 5.11 billion dollars, a 19.3 percent decrease compared to the same period of last year (6.33 billion dollars) as German, Italian and British automobile imports diminished in the Korean market over the period. The market share of Japanese vehicles in Korea increased to 21.5 percent in the first half of this year from 17.4 percent last year. Lexus’ market share surged to 7.7 percent from 5.1 percent, while Honda also saw increase to 5.2 percent from 3.1 percent.
On the contrary, Korean carmakers exported only 32 cars to Japan in the first half of this year. “Foreign carmakers have hard time to make inroads into the Japanese market as Japanese customers highly prefer domestic brands,” an industry insider said.